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Hollywood’s strikes are over, but a painful industry-wide transition isn’t | Culture

Hollywood’s months of labor unrest are coming to an end, but the post-strike landscape that awaits actors and writers may be far from happily-ever-after. The film and television industry could rightly celebrate the conclusion this week of a bruising, protracted work stoppage that began in May when the Writers Guild hit the picket lines and gathered more force when Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists members walked out in mid-July.

The strikes were historic in their length and cost, causing an estimated $6 billion in economic loss and leaving hundreds of thousands out of work. As Hollywood on Thursday began rushing back to production and stars again hit red carpets, many were surely still nursing wounds from a bitter feud with the studios, even after a deal that the guild says won actors a hefty boost to minimum pay and protections over the use of artificial intelligence.

But as actors swap their picket signs for audition sides and call sheets, they’ll be returning to an industry still in the midst of painful transformation and streaming upheaval.

The strikes were prompted largely by the streaming wars, a digital land-rush to populate platforms like Disney+ and HBO Max (now just “Max”) with enough content to rival Netflix. That helter-skelter transition threw much of the economics of entertainment out of whack. One of the most contentious issues of SAG-AFTRA’s negotiations with the studios was the union’s attempt to win a percentage — 1 or 2% — of streaming revenue, to replace lost residuals. In the end, the actors accepted a bonus tied to viewership.

But even before the strike, every studio was reexamining its streaming strategy. After several years of rampant green lights, most are pulling back, looking to make fewer series and movies, cutting staff and desperately seeking a path toward profitability. Wall Street, no longer enamored with subscriber numbers, wants to see profit, too.

The aftermath of the strike may look less like a party and more like a streaming hangover.

“The streaming business is completely screwed up. There’s too much content and nobody seems to be able to make any profit from it,” says Jonathan Taplin, director emeritus of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab and author of “The End of Reality: How Four Billionaires are Selling a Fantasy Future of the Metaverse, Mars, and Crypto.”

Both strikes, Taplin says, were successful because the guilds gained bulwarks against potential decimation by artificial intelligence. But the road ahead, during which he expects linear television to collapse and some streaming services to go out of business, will be strained.

“The whole business is in a complete uproar,” says Taplin. “It will sort itself out in the next three to five years, but it’s going to be painful.”

This is the world that awaits actors as they rush back to sets: Better pay but fewer jobs and intense competition. Puck’s Matt Belloni wrote: “What should be a time of relief and celebration in Hollywood is more akin to what soldiers experience in countless war movies — the horrors of battle give way to the equally grim reality of the new world for which they fought.”

Still, the strikes recalibrated power in Hollywood, winning gains for actors and writers and rallying union support throughout the industry. More battles loom. The contract for International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents crew members, expires at the end of July.

Meanwhile, for months, studios have signaled they’re downsizing. Earlier this week, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger in an earnings call where he touted the financial benefits of more than 8,000 job cuts, said the company is focused on consolidating: “Make less, focus more on quality.”

“At the time the pandemic hit, we were leaning into a huge increase in how much we were making,” Iger said. “And I’ve always felt that quantity can be actually a negative when it comes to quality. And I think that’s exactly what happened. We lost some focus.”

Netflix, which earlier set its sights on a new original movie every week, has said it’s now aiming for about half that. Hulu, which Disney plans to bundle with Disney+ after acquiring Comcast’s stake, is slimming down. Peacock lost $2.8 billion this year, Comcast has said; it announced layoffs to its marketing department Thursday.

Warner Bros. Discovery chief executive David Zaslav has taken drastic steps to get Max in order, while the studio post-merger carries $43 billion in debt.

“This is a generational disruption we’re going through,” Zaslav said Wednesday. “Going through that with a streaming service that’s losing billions of dollars is really, really difficult to go on offense.”

Cancellations have grown more commonplace as streamers get more selective. Due in part to the strikes, series production will dip for the first time in years in 2023 after reaching an all-time high last year, when 599 original series were made. Peak TV, some say, is over.

But there are still huge amounts of money being thrown around. Apple Studios, for one, is behind two of the fall’s biggest budget films in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon and Ridley Scott’s Napoleon.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s lead negotiator, remains optimistic about what’s ahead.

“I recognize that during a strike, sometimes rhetoric gets heated. People sometimes say things with the intention of sort of generating a reaction,” Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said Wednesday. “And so I think really we will see over the coming days, weeks and months what the industry’s real intentions are. But my expectation is that they do really want to get people back to work and that they’ll do so.”

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Choco: Revolutionizing The FoodTech Industry With Innovation & Sustainability | EU20

By Clint Bailey

— In the rapidly evolving world of food technology, European startup Choco has emerged as a pioneering force. With its website,, this Berlin-based company is transforming the way food industry professionals operate by leveraging innovative digital solutions. By linking restaurants, distributors, suppliers, and producers on a single platform, Choco is streamlining the supply chain process while promoting sustainability.

Let’s explore the journey of and its impact on the overall foodtech industry.

  1. Company: Choco Technologies GmbH
  2. Website:
  3. Head Office: Berlin, Germany
  4. Year Established: 2018
  5. Founders: Choco was co-founded by Daniel Khachab, Julian Hammer, and Rogerio da Silva.
  6. Industry: Choco operates in the foodtech industry, specifically focusing on digitizing the supply chain for the food industry.
  7. Funding: Choco has secured significant funding rounds from investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners & Coatue Management.
  8. Market Presence: Choco has a strong presence in several European cities, including Berlin, Paris, London & Barcelona.
  9. Mission: Choco aims to revolutionize the food industry by leveraging technology to simplify supply chain management, promote sustainability, and reduce food waste.

Simplifying Supply Chain Management

One of the core focuses of Choco is to simplify supply chain management for food businesses. Traditionally, the procurement process in the food industry has been cumbersome and inefficient, with numerous intermediaries and manual processes. Choco’s digital platform replaces the traditional paper-based ordering system, allowing restaurants and suppliers to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.

Choco’s platform enables restaurants to place orders directly with suppliers, eliminating the need for phone calls, faxes, or emails. This not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of errors and miscommunications.

By digitizing the ordering process, Choco improves transparency, making it easier for restaurants to compare prices, track deliveries, and manage inventory efficiently.

Streamlining Operations For Suppliers & Producers

Choco’s impact extends beyond restaurants. The platform also provides suppliers and producers with valuable tools to streamline their operations. By digitizing their product catalogs and integrating them into the Choco platform, suppliers can showcase their offerings to a wide network of potential buyers.

Suppliers benefit from increased visibility, enabling them to reach new customers and expand their market presence. Moreover, Choco’s platform helps suppliers manage their inventory, track orders, and plan deliveries effectively. These features enhance operational efficiency, reduce waste, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable food system.
YouTube Channel

Promoting Sustainability & Reducing Food Waste

Choco recognizes the critical importance of sustainability in the food industry. According to the United Nations, approximately one-third of the world’s food production goes to waste each year. By digitizing the supply chain and enabling more efficient ordering and inventory management, Choco actively works to combat this issue.

Air France – Deals & Destinations

Choco’s platform facilitates data-driven decision-making for restaurants, suppliers, and producers. By analyzing purchasing patterns & demand, Choco helps businesses optimize their inventory levels, reducing overstocking and minimizing food waste. Additionally, Choco supports local sourcing, enabling businesses to connect with nearby suppliers & promote sustainable, community-based practices.

Expanding Reach & Impact

Since its founding in 2018, Choco has experienced rapid growth and expansion. The startup has successfully secured significant funding rounds, allowing it to scale its operations and establish a strong presence across Europe and other global markets. Today, Choco’s platform is used by thousands of restaurants and suppliers, revolutionizing the way they operate.

Choco’s impact extends beyond operational efficiency or sustainability. By connecting restaurants, suppliers & producers on a single platform, Choco fosters collaboration & encourages the exchange of ideas. This collaborative approach strengthens the overall foodtech ecosystem and creates a supportive community of like-minded aiming to drive positive change within the industry.

Future Of FoodTech

Choco’s rise to prominence in the foodtech industry exemplifies the reach of sustainability, innovation, and community. Through its user-friendly platform, Choco simplifies supply chain management, streamlines operations for restaurants & suppliers, and actively promotes sustainable practices. By harnessing the potential of digital, Choco is disrupting the future of the food industry, making it more efficient and transparent.

As Choco continues to expand its impact and reach, its transformative influence on the foodtech sector is set to inspiring, grow other startups, and established players to embrace technology for a better and more sustainable food system.

We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— Compiled by Clint Bailey | Team ‘Voice of EU’
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The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

A faded felt bicorne hat worn by Napoleon Bonaparte sold for $2.1 million at an auction on of the French emperor’s belongings.

Yes, that’s $2.1 million!!

The signature broad, black hat, one of a handful still in existence that Napoleon wore when he ruled 19th-century France and waged war in Europe, was initially valued at 600,000 to 800,000 euros ($650,000-870,000). It was the centerpiece of Sunday’s auction collected by a French industrialist who died last year.

The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

But the bidding quickly jumped higher and higher until Jean Pierre Osenat, president of the Osenat auction house, designated the winner.

‘’We are at 1.5 million (Euros) for Napoleon’s hat … for this major symbol of the Napoleonic epoch,” he said, as applause rang out in the auction hall. The buyer, whose identity was not released, must pay 28.8% in commissions according to Osenat, bringing the overall cost to 1.9 million euros ($2.1 million).

While other officers customarily wore their bicorne hats with the wings facing front to back, Napoleon wore his with the ends pointing toward his shoulders. The style, known as “en bataille,” or in battle, made it easier for his troops to spot their leader in combat.

The hat on sale was first recovered by Col. Pierre Baillon, a quartermaster under Napoleon, according to the auctioneers. The hat then passed through many hands before industrialist Jean-Louis Noisiez acquired it.

The entrepreneur spent more than a half-century assembling his collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, firearms, swords and coins before his death in 2022.

The sale came days before the release of Ridley Scott’s film Napoleon with Joaquin Phoenix, which is rekindling interest in the controversial French ruler.

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The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

THE VOICE OF EU | Widespread concerns have surged among artists and creatives in various domains – country singers, authors, television showrunners, and musicians – voicing apprehension about the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on their professions.

These worries have prompted an urgent plea to the U.S. government for regulatory action to protect their livelihoods from the encroaching threat posed by AI technology.

The Artists’ Plea

A notable rise in appeals to regulate AI has emerged, drawing attention to the potential risks AI poses to creative industries.

Thousands of letters, including those from renowned personalities like Justine Bateman and Lilla Zuckerman, underscore the peril AI models represent to the traditional structure of entertainment businesses.

The alarm extends to the music industry, expressed by acclaimed songwriter Marc Beeson, highlighting AI’s potential to both enhance and jeopardize an essential facet of American artistry.

The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

Copyright Infringement Concerns

The primary contention arises from the unsanctioned use of copyrighted human works as fodder to train AI systems. The concerns about AI ingesting content from the internet without permission or compensation have sparked significant distress among artists and their representative entities.

While copyright laws explicitly protect works of human authorship, the influx of AI-generated content questions the boundaries of human contribution and authorship in an AI-influenced creative process.

The Fair Use Debate

Leading technology entities like Google, Microsoft, and Meta Platforms argue that their utilization of copyrighted materials in AI training aligns with the “fair use” doctrine—a limited use of copyrighted material for transformative purposes.

They claim that AI training isn’t aimed at reproducing individual works but rather discerning patterns across a vast corpus of content, citing precedents like Google’s legal victories in the digitization of books.

The Conflict and Seeking Resolution

Despite court rulings favoring tech companies in interpreting copyright laws regarding AI, voices like Heidi Bond, a former law professor and author, critique this comparison, emphasizing that AI developers often obtain content through unauthorized means.

Shira Perlmutter, the U.S. Register of Copyrights, acknowledges the Copyright Office’s pivotal role in navigating this complex landscape and determining the legitimacy of the fair use defense in the AI context.

The Road Ahead

The outpouring of concern from creative professionals and industry stakeholders emphasizes the urgency for regulatory frameworks to safeguard creative works while acknowledging the evolving role of AI in content creation.

The Copyright Office’s meticulous review of over 9,700 public comments seeks to strike a balance between innovation and the protection of creative rights in an AI-driven era. As the discussion continues, the convergence of legal precedents and ethical considerations remains a focal point for shaping the future landscape of AI in creative industries.

Thank You For Your Support!

— By Darren Wilson, Team

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